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The Maurikian era began inauspiciously. After a period of balance between the various power groups in the Middle East established by Justinian and his armies, Emperor Justin II refused to continue to pay off the mighty Sassanid Persian Empire - a course of action which soon brought the Byzantine Empire again to the brink of war. Meanwhile, the Germanic Lombards invaded Italy opening up a second front for the manpower-needy Byzantines; by the end of the century only a third of Italy was in Byzantine hands.
Justin's successor, Tiberius II made the logical decision to choose between his enemies and bribed the Avars while taking military action against the Sassanid Persians. Although Tiberius' general, Maurice, led an effective campaign on the eastern frontier the payments failed to restrain the Avars. They captured the Balkan fortress of Sirmium in 582, while the Western Turkish and Khazar Turks began to make inroads across the Danube. Maurice, who in the meantime had become Emperor, made peace with the Sassanian Emperor Khosrau II, achieving access to Armenia and then forced the Avars and Early South Slavs back across the Danube by 602.
After Maurice's murder (I hope you are following this) Khosrau used the accession of the murderer Phocas as a pretext to reconquer the Roman province of Mesopotamia. Phocas, an unpopular ruler who is invariably described in Byzantine sources as a "tyrant", was also the target of a number of senate-led plots and was eventually deposed in 610 by Heraclius.
Following the accession of Heraclius the Sassanid Persian advance pushed deep into Asia Minor, occupying Damascus and Jerusalem and removing the True Cross to Ctesiphon. The counter-offensive of Heraclius took on the character of a holy war, with Icons carried at the head of his armies. Similarly, when Constantinople was saved from an Avar siege in 626, the victory was attributed to the icons of the Virgin which were led in procession by Patriarch around the walls of the city.
The main Sassanid Persian force was destroyed at Nineveh in 627, and in 629 Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony. The war had exhausted both the Byzantine and Sassanid Empire, and left them extremely vulnerable to the Arab Conquest forces which emerged in the following years. The Byzantines as a result suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Yarmuk in 636, and the Persian capital Ctesiphon fell in 634.
- Early Byzantine : 493 - 550 The Eastern Roman Empire & Belisarius on the offensive - Mixed & Bw/Sw Cv units and "legionaries" - D&F
- Maurikian Byzantine : 550 - 650 Loss of Africa, The Strategikon, War with Persia & The Arabs - Good quality Ln & Bw/Sw Cv, Mixed Skoutatoi but no LH - D&F
- Thematic Byzantine : 650 - 963 The Thematic System, Tagmatic units fighting the Caliphates - Mixed units & Bw/Sw Cv, Average & Poor units, Cataphracts - D&F
- Nikephorian Byzantine : 963 - 1071 Basil bashes the Bulgars, Normans conquer Italy, Manzikert loss to the Turks - Bw* or Ln Cavalry, Varangians, lots of mixed spearmen & some Normans - D&F
- Komnenan Byzantine : 1071 - 1204 Manzikert to Fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders - Lancer Cv, some KN, Varangians - S&S
- Post Latin Conquest Byzantine : 1204 - 1261 Nikaia, Epiros, Trebizond vs the Latin Kingdoms - Frankish Kn, lots of archers, - S&S
- Late Byzantine : 1261 - 1461 Byzantium, Epirus, Morea & Trebizond until their fall to the Turks - Cv Lancers, 4 Kn, lots of archers - EE
- A valid Byzantine tactic is to open the game by offerer your opponent cash to concede the battle without fighting, with an additional future payment should they agree to add their forces to yours for future engagements against unspecified third parties. Alternatively suggesting they concede in exchange for the hand of your cousins daughter, a generous annual pension and a nice estate in Anatolia can sometimes also pay dividends.
- 8-base Maurikian Skoutatoi units can be deployed in 4 ranks with 2 Spear/2 Spear/2 Bow/2 Spear. This means that if a front rank base is lost it is replaced by a spear from the rear rank (for that's the rules). Deploying 3 Spear/3 Spear/2 Bow is a touch more dicey as once one base is lost some files of spears will no longer gain POAs for being in 2 ranks.
User-contributed links about this army:
- Stapells.com DBA suggestions and history
- Fanaticus history and usage
- put the link text readers will see in here write some more detail about the link here
You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site
Many manufacturers produce just one "Byzantine" range, not specifying which era they are for (but most are Maurkikian era I suspect). All generic "Byzantine" ranges have been listed here, together with any specifically noted for particular eras. For Latin or other allied troops, use Crusader or other knights of a similar timeframe.
- Essex Miniatures - Several Byzantine ranges. 8 Maurikians, 7 Thematics, 10 Nikephorians & 5 Generic Psiloi for all era in their Ancients ranges.
- Donnington 22 Byzantines, including a Belisarius general figure (a clue to them being fairly early maybe..) plus a 23-strong C12-13 range
- Museum Miniatures - 17 Byzantines, reasonably early period.
- Gladiator Miniatures by Fighting 15's (Previously Black Hat) - 10 Komnenans in their Crusades range
- Old Glory 15's - 12 Belisarians, and 22 codes in a "7th-13th Century Byzantine" range
- Minifigs - 21 Byzantines, from C7-C11 in their Dark Ages range, 5 more C11-13 ones in their Crusades range
- Irregular Miniatures - 21 Byzantines, with Nikephorian, Tagmatic, Thematic, Maurikian and Belisarian cavalry listed as well as CC7-10 oval-shield foot and C11-13 kite-shielded foot
- Tin Soldier 21 10th & 11th Century Byzantines
- Battle Line Miniatures (NZ) Same range as Isarus
- Alain Touller - almost 20 Byzantines with both kite and round shields
- Isarus - sold by 15mm.co.uk 18 Byzantines, kite-shielded lancers and round-shielded bowmen
- Outpost Wargame Services 10 Crusade-era Byzantines
- Khurasan Miniatures - 20-odd Nikephorian Byzantines (kite shield infantry)
- Viking Forge - Generic range of 20 or so Byzantines, Tagmatic and Thematic cavalry are listed
- 50 Paces/Miniature Wars - 10 -strong Belisarian (early) range
Sample army lists for this army
Name of Army / Date
- Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
- This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
- For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
- with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
- 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
- 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
- Dont forget to include your Generals !!!
Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.
Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list